Today, consumers are able to access and analyze data that only 10 years before was exclusively available to companies. This growth in access to information has its benefits: it has led to increased accountability and more educated purchasing decisions on the part of the consumer. But this increase in access and the advancement of consumer-to-consumer communication via social media has also led to the consumerization of the IT world, and as such, has been very disruptive to the status quo.
With increased access to information has come the need for companies to find effective ways to organize, analyze, and release information in a way that benefits their organization and creates positive ties with consumers. Herein lies the utility and demand for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions.
With the rise of information availability has come the rise of information-based crimes. Identity theft is just one example of how access to consumer information has created some very serious and frustrating issues. A good ECM program offers secure formats for storing and accessing information.
The need for encryption, pass codes, and many other security measures should be standard in any organization that collects, utilizes, and creates large amounts of data. Protecting sensitive content will protect the company by keeping all financial information secure. It will also protect the consumer, and consumers will be much more comfortable doing business with an organization that has taken the right security measures to utilize consumerization in positive ways while also finding ways to monitor the situation.
This is especially pertinent in the education and government sectors. These sectors require a great amount of personal information to be stored in order to function properly. All of this content must be managed in a safe and secure way that works for the private entity and the public all at the same time. ECM technology is a great fit for all tech needs, but especially in these content-heavy arenas.
Combining Business with Pleasure
Trend Micro states that “Recent studies conducted by Gartner, IDC and Forrester point out that nearly half of the U.S. workforce is already mobile and, as a result, are conducting business outside of their primary work place for more than 20% of their work week.” Basically, the boundaries of the workplace are expanding at an alarming rate. For businesses, this is a double-edged knife that must be handled with skill.
Laurence Hart with Search Content Management believes that having an ECM solution in place will allow traditional workplace boundaries to be blurred without creating major security risks. An ECM system can effectively establish virtual boundaries when physical boundaries are no longer as enforceable or tangible as they once were.
Keeping Up with the Jones’s
In the past, companies had to compete with other companies in order to retain current customers and to gain new ones. One of the dangers of consumerization is that businesses are now being forced to compete with the consumer as well as other companies in their industry. This is the wave of the Internet of Everything that has been highlighted in many tech arenas.
When a consumer spreads bad reports or inside information about an industry or an individual company, it becomes the job of employees to first identify the problem, and then go to work putting out the fires. This means that as the consumer becomes more tech-savvy, companies have to hire staff who can keep up with their tech skills, media outlets, and information access.
The changes prompted by consumerization do not happen in a linear fashion and so cannot be tracked. The sources for data to be leaked, spread, and reposted are endless and can pop up from anywhere at any time. This lack of predictability makes it very hard for companies to track what is happening and how to prevent future issues.
Changing IT Responsibilities
The most important risk involved in the consumerization movement is content security. The next big risk to companies is the changing needs of the IT realm. With all of the new devices being utilized for personal and business use, staff and consumers bring a lot of different needs to companies’ IT departments.
Management must work with IT department heads to decide which information outlets will be supported and monitored by paid company employees, and which will require full consumer liability. These plans protect both the company and the consumer, and a finalized plan should be posted to all information outlets possible. While a good chunk of marketing money and personnel will have to be invested in these efforts, the end result will help to address the security and IT issues that have arisen in many companies from the consumerization movement.